Many of us are constantly inundated with busyness. Email inboxes demand our attention. Our calendars are full with appointments. Our sabbath days often become full of chores—the exact opposite of the point! We find it hard to rest, and even when we do, we are plagued with the sense of “I should be doing something right now. What am I forgetting?”

Recently, I was sitting in a seminary class next to an open window. While my mind was racing with papers I had to write, sermons I needed to prepare for church, and the endless stream of projects waiting for me after class was over, I noticed a spider spinning a web on a bush covered in dew. While I am not a fan of eight-legged creatures, I was in awe of how this spider seemed to tell me that her agenda for the day consisted of finding food and making this web. This web, while small, was mighty and beautiful.

Later that week, I decided to walk to a local coffee shop to do some sermon writing. Even though it is only two blocks away, I often drive to this coffee shop because I am impatient and feel rushed to complete my tasks. As I walked through my neighborhood, I noticed the changing of the leaves, the slight crispness of the air, and my neighbor’s garden. I heard laughter from the local playground and the whispering and chirps of birds and squirrels. How might our sense of busyness change if we slowed down enough to notice and take stock of the beauty around us?

Loving God, you have made the beauty of the world with tender care. Open our eyes to recognize your beautiful works so that we can be more present to you. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Matthew 21:33-46

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Lectionary Week
September 28—October 4, 2020
Scripture Overview

A common theme this week is the danger of self-absorption. When we are young, we may struggle to understand the importance of rules because we think that our individual freedom is the highest good. God gives the Israelites commandments to guide their relationships with God and others. These laws will help them thrive because God knows what is best for us. The psalmist understands this: The laws of the Lord are good and sweet. Self-absorption might also lead to pride. Paul shows that a true understanding of the gospel means laying aside our rights in the knowledge that God will reward us. In a parable about the rejection of the prophets and Jesus, servants seek to seize a vineyard for themselves, unwisely ignoring that the owner will eventually reclaim what is his.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20. Recall your earliest experiences with the Ten Commandments. How do they continue to shape your understanding of God’s expectations?
Read Psalm 19. How does the natural world call you to follow God?
Read Philippians 3:4b-14. Whom do you emulate? What would it mean for you to emulate Christ in life and in death?
Read Matthew 21:33-46. When have you participated in or witnessed the rejection of one who could be God in disguise? How might things be different if you had recognized that person as a potential cornerstone of your community?

Respond by posting a prayer.

I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.” 

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